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Sometimes life sucks. Sometimes life really sucks. Maybe you’ve lost your job, a loved one has died or you’ve had a miscarriage. When these things happen, it can feel impossible to stay positive. You may want to lay down and hide from the world. Or maybe you’re pissed at people telling you that you’ll be fine, when they haven’t got a clue.
Bad things happen to everyone at some point, and I’ve had my fair share. I’ve had to deal with losing my job, living abroad alone and losing loved ones. So how to keep positive? In this article, I’ll share some of the tips that helped me though these difficult times, and how they can help you. All of the images in this article can be clicked, to load a slideshow.
I set up Evolution Blogger to help people achieve financial freedom. Most of my articles focus on practical strategies for wealth creation and property investment. However, to be truly happy with your business, you need your empire to support the life that you want. That’s why life coaching and focussing on yourself is a crucial part of attaining financial freedom. It’s easy to get overrun with the work or upset at being alone in a different country. This is why I’ve written a number of life coaching articles on this page.
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When bad things happen, like losing your job or having a miscarriage, it’s normal to be upset and depressed. You may find yourself in a spiral, where you keep on thinking about negative things. Maybe you get angry at your old boss, and replay events in your mind, again and again. This feeling can get even worse, as you don’t want to think about these things but can’t stop yourself. The more you try to avoid negative thoughts, the more they come. Aggghhhh!
So how do you stop this cycle? How to keep positive? The 1st thing to realise is that there’s no off switch – you can’t just stop your thoughts. Your mind doesn’t work like that. If you catch yourself thinking negative, don’t be angry with yourself! Remind yourself that this is completely normal. There’s nothing unusual about being depressed at losing your job.
One thing that I’ve found effective is to think about something else straight away. Something positive. Think about your loved ones, and happy occasions. Think about anything positive.
And what if you find yourself returning to the negative thoughts a few moments later? Then you repeat the process and think about something positive. Essentially, you’re training your mind to think about something else. Negative thoughts feed on themselves, and you want to break the downward spiral.
Instagram won’t help you to keep positive! You really don’t need to see your friend’s holiday snaps of their luxury Maldives holiday. If you’re depressed at losing your job, then looking at your grinning friends can be upsetting and frustrating. You need to be surrounding yourself in positivity and Instagram isn’t it.
Instagram is fake anyway. It’s a medium where people show off and give a false impression of their lives. My wife has a friend. This friend goes to expensive restaurants with her boyfriend, and they have a starter and 1 glass of wine each. She makes sure to get a photo and load it on Instagram. So now everyone thinks that they eat in Michelin star restaurants all the time.
That’s the point, Instagram is about fakeness and showing off. It’s not what you need to beat depression!
One thing that pisses me off is when people say “I understand” or “you’ll be alright.” If you’ve just lost a loved one or you’re worried about money, then comments like “you’ll be alright” mean nothing. I want practical solutions, not useless platitudes.
With that in mind, breathing exercises are very powerful at finding solutions to difficult problems. Deep breathing increases the amount of oxygen in your blood. It relaxes your mind and releases tension. If you find yourself feeling upset and overwhelmed, then simple breathing exercises are an amazing tool. There’s many breathing exercises you can use, but I’ll give a basic one:
- Hold closed your right nostril, and take 5 seconds to breathe in through the left nostril. Fill up your lungs
- The release the right nostril and hold closed your left nostril. Then take 5 seconds to release the air
- Repeat this process for 5 or 10 minutes, taking deep breaths in and out
Breathing exercises can’t change your reality, but they can bring clarity and calmness to your mind. It’s a very powerful tool to help you to keep positive. It brings perspective to your mind, rather than focussing on the negativity.
If you’ve lost your job, it can be very fearful. How will I pay rent? How will I pay for my kids? I’ve been in this situation and it’s not pleasant. It’s not easy to keep positive, when you’re worried about survival.
The key solution I have, is to get out in front of your situation. Sit down with a piece of paper and write down everything you spend money on. Look at every item and assume that you won’t get another job.
Once you do this, then make a plan. How long can you survive? What resources do you have available to you? Are there Government benefits or family members to support you? What expenses can you eliminate? If you own your home, then you may need to move out and rent the property to someone else. You can then live somewhere cheaper.
This tip is more powerful than it sounds. By writing down your expenses on paper, you’ll know exactly what your situation is and what you need to do. Depression at losing your job and fear about the future is normal. However by making a plan, you can control events, rather than events controlling you.
In 2007, I was working at Citigroup and on top of the world. I was 23, and thought I was gonna be a millionaire in 2 years. Then the financial crisis hit… 60 of us were taken into a room. The managers read out 30 names and told us that we had to leave the building immediately.
I spent the next 3 months in a state of depression, looking for my next job. I felt worthless, and thought the only way to regain my self-worth was to get another job. Sure enough, 3 months later I got another job, and my self-worth was restored.
Looking back, that 3 months was a missed opportunity. I should have used that time to evaluate my life and really think about what I really want to do. If I’d done that, I may have had a business at the age of 26, rather than 34.
This is the point, in every crisis comes opportunity. If you’re out of work, then the one thing you do have is time. Don’t spend this time watching reruns of Friends! There’s a good chance that you don’t love your job. You owe it to yourself to explore other options. Maybe you can set up a side hustle that allows you to leave your job eventually – that’s what happened to me!
I go to networking events all the time. I’ve met hundreds of people that are depressed at losing at their job. The 1st question I ask is always “did you love your job?” 95% of time, the answer is no. People love the security of having a job, but they didn’t love their job. If you’re in the 95%, then you should view your unemployment as an opportunity.
This is one area that I can help with. On this blog, I’ve written loads of articles on property investment and how you can attain financial freedom. On my travel blog, I also wrote a detailed guide about how to set up your own travel blog and make money from it.
There’s a saying, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I always thought this saying was stupid. Radiation poising may not kill you, but it won’t make you stronger.
However what is true, is that difficult situations bring wisdom. This is wisdom that you’ll use to reach greater heights, when you’re back on your feet.
On a personal level, my difficulties made me the person I am today. I experienced a lot of racism growing up, and that gave me a desire to help people. My frustrations in investment banking forced me to look for an alternative, and set up a business. I’ve created amazing businesses in real estate and travel and view those difficulties as a blessing.
When bad things happen, it’s easy to think that everything in your life is bad. Negative thoughts feed on negative thoughts, and it can feel impossible to think about anything else. So how to keep positive? It’s important to surround yourself in positivity.
Positivity can take many forms – it will be unique to your situation.
When I was working abroad, I encountered a serious case of loneliness. I didn’t have any friends and I didn’t speak the language. I made sure to have lots of photos of family and friends. I also made sure that I spoke regularly to family members. I wrote a separate article on how to deal with loneliness.
When I was out of work, I felt that I lacked self-worth. This isn’t surprising, as society teaches us that our job defines us. When our job is taken away, our self-worth is gone. This is stupid of course - all human beings do far more in their life than their job. To remain positive, I wrote down my achievements in my life and my career. This includes attaining a 1st class undergraduate degree, and my masters from the London School of Economics. I read this frequently and reminded myself of my achievements. This helped me to keep perspective and avoid depression at losing my job.
The key thing is to make a conscious effort, and to surround yourself by everything that’s good in your life.
You already know this piece of advice, but it doesn’t hurt to repeat it..
Anybody over the age of 16, knows that life has its ups and downs. Nothing is permanent and life is about continuous change.
When you’re going through a bad spot, it feels like things will never change. However this isn’t true. Things will change and things will get better. When things do get better, you often forget about the suffering you went through.
For me, the better future was to leave investment banking and work as a UK property investor. If this interests you, then read this article on whether buy to let investment is still worth it – spoiler alert, it is!
Life can really kick you in the gut sometimes. Events like losing a job or losing a loved can lead to depression, and this is perfectly normal. Unfortunately, there’s no magic wand that make things better.
In this article, I’ve given practical tips about how to improve your life and how to keep positive. Everybody has positive things in their lives, and has positive things in their future. If we can focus on these things and not the negativity of right now, then we can prevent a downward spiral into depression.
I would love to hear your views in the comments below! Everyone has different experiences and different things work for different people.